________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number . . . .June 19, 2015


Rumpled Stilton Skin. (Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists).

Daniel Postgate.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1956-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1930-4 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7694-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7686-8 (html).

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Julianne Mutimer.

**** /4


The queen thought the man was nastier than the hard end of the cheese she hated so much. “You are worse than RUMPLED STILTON SKIN!” she cried.


For the cheese-loving (or maybe cheese-hating) child, here is a pared down, yet enjoyable rendition of Rumpelstiltskin by Daniel Postgate. Rumpled Stilton Skin is part of “Tadpoles” series, early readers for young children to practice their reading. Even so, this book is more enjoyable than the average early reader. It is the story of a young girl who owns a cheese shop and is invited to a royal party, but, alas, she cannot attend because of the stench of cheese she carries on her clothing. Poof! In walks Rumpelstiltskin, and we all know how the story goes.

     This particular abbreviated version has some enjoyable twists, such as when the queen announces that her visitor is worse than “rumpled stilton skin”, which Rumpelstiltskin mistakes for his own name. Children of the five to seven age group often enjoy fairy tales as fairy tales are somewhat black and white and have a concrete moral message – a perfect match for the reading level of the book. The traditional tale is injected with humour, something that older and younger readers will enjoy, and it has a smattering of more exotic vocabulary such as “edam” and “brie” instead of straight conversational vernacular.

     Rumpled Stilton Skin is a great little book for children just starting down an independent reading pathway. This text is suitable for paired or group reading in the home, classroom or library environments. The illustrations are also appropriate for both the audience age and the text. The stinky, twisted fairy tale elements of the book are almost reminiscent of a Roald Dahl text, and the illustrations have a Quentin Blake feel to them. Although this book does not have the character of a great work of children’s literature (very few, if any early readers do), it does have character. It is fun and will encourage children who are learning to read to continue doing so. An excellent selection for library and classroom shelves.


Julianne Mutimer is a children’s librarian with Surrey Libraries in Surrey, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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